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EDTECH: Cloud Computing And Big Data Are Powering Up Corporate Training

Business schools compete with tech groups for toehold in lucrative training market

Cloud computing and big data are powering up the corporate training market.

The $70bn industry will grow at a CAGR of 16.50% through to 2020, according to a new report from Research and Markets.

Corporate training or executive education is one business schools' biggest sources of revenue.

Organizations worldwide turning to educators to provide online training to their employees, who increasingly work in globally dispersed teams.

With the cloud, workers can access and download business apps to their smartphones wherever and whenever they want.

Connecting in this way facilities collaborative learning and enables employees to more easily customize their learning experience.

"Technology paves the way to a more efficient learning experience," says Thomas Jeanjean, dean for executive education at ESSEC Business School in France.

Companies also use cloud computing to ensure seamless and easy accessibility of stored data.

Big data in particular is poised to have a monumental impact on online learning. By crunching data — from mouse clicks and time spent on tasks to evaluating how students respond to assessments — universities and digital providers hope to shed light on how learners access information and master material.

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, an online learning company, said: “The potential of online learning to deliver more effective learning experiences that are better targeted, I think, are huge.”

The report comes as the world's top business schools seek to deploy a wide range of edtech to improve the connectivity of their expanding online learning portfolios.

Cutting-edge tech, from artificial intelligence to Pokémon GO-style augmented reality, is edging its way into executive education.

In 2015, the business school INSEAD launched a cloud and mobile offering for companies. Early clients included Accenture and Microsoft.

"For corporations, it's essential that they update the skill-sets of employees on a regular basis. The market is getting bigger and bigger," says Tony Sheehan, associate dean for digital learning at London Business School.

However, business schools face competition in the corporate learning market. A slew of edtech start-ups such as Udemy and have pushed heavily into executive education. They have struck deals with companies such as Google, Salesforce, and AT&T.

In August, Mooc platform Coursera announced Coursera for Business, an enterprise training platform for companies.

"New competitors are coming from a variety of sources," said Kai Peters, CEO, Ashridge Business School.

"Consultants, HR and professional services firms, publishers, and others are all vying for a foothold in the executive education space."

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